University Archives


Former First Lady Louisa Catherine Adams ALS Re: the Mexican-American War

One page autograph letter signed on a bifolium,  10" x 7.75" . Dated "Quincy, 15 July 1847", and signed by Louisa Catherine Adams "L.C. Adams". Reception docket on integral blank; light fold creases.  Ex. Sotheby's, from the collection of Elsie and Philip Sang (Sang biography included below). Accompanied by a typed format of the autographed letter and a short typed biography of Louis Catherine Adams.

Louisa Adams' sister Carolina married Nathaniel Frye in 1817. Since the Fryes were residents of the District of Columbia, the two families saw a great deal of each other, particularly during John Quincy Adams's time in the House of Representatives. After acknowledging her correspondent's letter and congratulating him on his son Robert's assignment as a major of his own company, Mrs. Adams here turns her attention to the Mexican–American War:

"The prospects of Peace seem to be growing more and more narrow and I much fear will end in disappointment; and personal Wars among the great Commanders of the Armies and the Diplomatists of middling grade; seem to indicate a spirit of internal broils, more prejudicial to our cause then the Mexican arms—

"Our old friend Mr. Hunt the Pay Master, appears to make his small demands manfully for his payments; and it causes quite a laugh here to talk of Estimates—The conclusion here seems to be, that our Treasury Department not withstanding its [two words crossed out] finessing spirit, will fall into terrible arrears; and plunge the country onto almost irremediable difficulties—"

Both Adamses staunchly opposed the Mexican–American War, which they saw as an effort to extend slavery. As soon as Texas had achieved independence, Texans lobbied the United States government for admittance to the Union. Admission was refused, primarily because many people thought that the admittance of Texas as a slave state would upset the balance between free and slave states. For the next nine years, Texas was an independent country. Texans still lobbied to join the United States. In the presidential election of 1844, James Knox Polk, the Democratic Party's candidate, won against Henry Clay, the Whig Party's candidate. Polk campaigned on the issue of expansion, and called for the annexation of Texas. In 1845, President John Tyler formally approved the annexation of Texas.

Adams would live just long enough to see the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which ended hostilities and established the Rio Grande as the boundary between the United States and Mexico.

In closing, Mrs. Adams turns to from matters concerning the Treasury Department to finances of a more familial nature: "I will be obliged to you if you possess the wherewithall of Mr. Adams money, to advance to Caroline the requisite for purchasing some Peaches in due Season, and some damsons, for Margaret to Preserve for me, as also some Sugar."

The Sang Collection:

The original five-part sale from 1978-1981 of “Highly Important American Historical Documents, Autograph Letters, and Manuscripts” from the Elsie O. and Philip D. Sang Foundation, was a watershed event in American collecting. The breadth and depth and sheer size of the collection—1,342 lots comprising several thousand manuscripts, as well as books, broadsides, maps, and artifacts—is almost unimaginable today. Even more astonishing is the consistently high significance of the content of the manuscripts. Letters and documents dispersed in the Sang Sale became the foundation stones of two equally distinguished aggregations of historical American manuscripts, the Forbes Collection and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.


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